Posted: Sept. 20, 2016 | Tags: interns
Illustration by Sydney Ling
I didn't always know I wanted to be an investigative reporter. In fact, it was not until years after being properly introduced to journalism at Morehouse College that I was even made aware of what investigative reporting really was through the Georgia News Lab created by David Armstrong.
That experience of serving as a student investigative reporter with the lab, followed by a summer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution as an investigative intern, is what truly sparked my awareness.
A large part of this late introduction stemmed from me being naïve of the power and diversity of investigative journalism. These investigative projects can range from revealing threats to the environment and health to highlighting a network of political and financial corruption.
It is always nice to be reminded of that range and significance. Here are a few projects I thought explored that diversity in investigative reporting:
• In this investigation the Food & Environment Reporting Network looks into how the creation of oil palm plantations have not only threatened forests in areas like Indonesia and Malaysia but it has also opened doors to poachers.
The piece examines some of the ramifications of the commercial popularity of palm oil, including its effect on the environment.
"As the forests disappear, hornbills and other birds find themselves squeezed into ever tinier patches of suitable habitat. At the same time, new roads and oil-palm plantations render the remaining forests that much more accessible to poachers." Palm oil is in half of all products on U.S. grocery store shelves, according to the report, from crackers to ice cream and lotion.
• The San Francisco Public Press published a series of stories that examines what the cost of living in the Bay Area entails. The nonprofit news site reports that 10 percent of San Francisco residents who are considered poor would actually be middle class in many other areas.
• According to testimony and documents examined by City Limits, Bellevue Hospital's Psychiatric Emergency Room doctors oversaw the use of forced injections of psychiatric medication to sedate patients refusing to have blood drawn during hospital admissions. It is alleged that actions violate the state law involving the practice of involuntary medication.
• In this investigation PublicSource discovered from examining purchasing information from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services that from 2007 through 2013 enough antipsychotic drugs were ordered to treat one-third of delinquents at the states six juvenile correctional facilities. Read a recent follow up story here.